Stephen Jackson joined the Church at the Easter Vigil on April 15th. He reflects on his journey to becoming Catholic and his experience with RCIA.
The birth of my daughter was an enlightening experience for me. When I looked at my daughter for the first time I saw God. I finally understood the kind of love that would move God to come to us, offer himself, and ensure our salvation. When I held my daughter, I realized in that moment that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. In her eyes, I could understand what unconditional love was. Before Audrey was born, I had been going to St. Catherine’s with my wife for some time. She and I were married there in 2010. It took us three and a half years of trying before my wife got pregnant with Audrey. The emotional toll that it took on the two of us was finally getting to be too much and the month before we found out that we were pregnant we had decided it would be our last month of actively trying before giving up. We sat down, held each other, and cried as we resigned to the fact that we may never be parents in the traditional sense. However, the Lord turned sorrow into joy and blessed us with a beautiful daughter.
When Audrey wrapped her tiny hand around my finger and squeezed, so much made sense to me for the first time, including many of those Bible stories I had been hearing during Mass. It was after this point that I decided to join RCIA. Throughout the process, Fr. Jacek brought a passion to the RCIA classes that helped draw us in. He wanted to create an environment reminiscent of the catechumens in the early days of Christianity, when the spiritual calling of Christ, to them, was more important than the risks they were putting themselves in by being present. Fr. Jacek facilitated an open forum where we were free to question and respond as we studied the teachings of Catholicism. Taking a day away from a young baby was hard on both myself and my wife. There were times when I only got to see my family for a few minutes that day. I wondered if I should have waited until Audrey was a little older, but in the end, I’m glad that I went through it when I did. With the events going on in the world now, it is more important than ever to have faith be at the center of my life. Becoming a Catholic has helped me to find a peace that only comes from God at a time that I’ve been struggling to understand the turbulent rumblings of the world.